Asian American Diversity and Assimilation

It is well known that Asian Americans are among the most successful demographic communities in the United States. Their success can be viewed through key indicators such as: median income, academic achievement, money transfers, and cultural representation. What is less known is that the term Asian Americans is constructed from 14 different subgroups; with the most prevalent communities being: Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese. This article will focus on these groups and describe their differences in regards to the aforementioned indicators.

Asian Americans have been earning higher wages than the rest of the nation for the past several years. A US Census Bureau report states that the Asian American median Income in 2008 was $70,069. This number may mislead people to think all Asians earn high salaries. The truth is that there is a huge discrepancy in earnings across the Asian American racial spectrum. The highest wages are earned by Indians followed by Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. The disparity in salaries between Indian Americans and Korean Americans is over 20 thousand dollars.

The next measure of success to be looked at is academic attainment. The Census Bureau published a study called the ” American Community- Asians” which details the scholastic achievements of the Asian American community. This report shows that over 48% of Asian Americans receive a bachelor’s degree. Breaking down this figure shows that Indians have the highest realization of degrees with over 65% graduating from a higher institute of learning. In contrast Japanese Americans have the lowest rate of educational attainment amongst the Asian races with just over 43% graduating from college (still notably higher than the national average of 27%). A more detailed look into this stratification shows that Chinese Americans take home 2nd place in academic achievement, while Korean and Filipino take 3rd and 4th respectively.

With success comes the luxury of being able to help friends and family who are less fortunate. Through monitoring the amount of money transfers from Asian Americans to their families back home we get another indicator of economic prowess. Looking at stats from the World Bank we see that Indian Americans lead all Asian races with over 55 billion USD sent to India in 2009 alone. They are followed by Chinese, Filipino, Korean and Japanese Americans respectively in sending money outside of the United States.

The use of a selected number of economic indicators paints a picture of a very diverse and thriving Asian American Community.While the many sub groups may differ in their language, customs, and physical appearance they share one thing in common; the realization of the American dream.

U.S.Census Bureau,Facts for Features: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2010, U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community-Asians 2004, U.S. Census Bureau
Migration and Remittance Team, Migration and Development Brief, World Bank
Wikipedia, Asian Americans, Wikipedia